The Anglican Diocese of Wellington, U.S. Embassy, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) recently co-hosted the ‘Tango i te kaupae muri - Take the next step’ conference.
The conference was held on 16 and 17 March 2021 in Wellington. It was supported by a range of business, civil society, and government organisations, who provided a platform for collaborating together to end modern day slavery and worker exploitation within Aotearoa New Zealand.
The speakers were compelling and confronting, obliging us to do better in this space. They provided a mix of sobering examples of exploitation both here in New Zealand and further afield; along with practical examples of some of the good work that is underway to address it.
Strong themes across the two days included the need for:
- victim centric approaches, including victims and survivors in identifying solutions and remedies that would counter their experiences and stop similar situations happening to others
- collaboration within and across business, civil society, and government
- organisations to take greater responsibility for how workers are treated within their own businesses and across the organisations they do business with - employers, procurers, work brokers, directors, investors
- more targeted and accessible information and education, that increases awareness of employment rights and obligations and provides practical steps that can be applied.
The interactions strengthened participants resolve to do more.
The Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, the Hon Michael Wood, opened the conference together with the Minister of Immigration, the Hon Kris Faafoi, Kevin Covert, Chargé d’affaires, U.S. Mission to New Zealand, and The Right Reverend Dr Eleanor Sanderson, Assistant Bishop of Wellington, Anglican Diocese of Wellington. The Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety also launched the all-of-government Plan of Action against Forced Labour, People Trafficking and Slavery. The Plan of Action was developed across government agencies, led by MBIE, and incorporated feedback from public consultation.